What’s your favorite camera?

I’ve heard many photographers say “The best camera you can have is the one you have with you.” (or something like that)
Any photographer who is passionate about taking good photos will find him or herself adding to the bag of gear he or she lugs around. This becomes pretty exciting as we grow in our skills and see the need for better equipment to give us the finest images with what we have. This also becomes a bit of a burden as our camera bag gets heavier and heavier. It becomes even more difficult if we plan to carry that bag onto an airplane. Anyone who has travelled with their precious camera gear knows the challenge of finding the best bag to travel with that can stay under our watchful eye and protect our lenses from careless bag handlers.
I have to say that my favorite camera is quite often my handy iPhone that’s rarely far away from my reach. (Unless of course I’m waiting for an important call and I happen to leave it in another room when the phone rings) Whenever my husband and I head out for a drive somewhere I always carefully tuck my bag in a safe place in the car and sometimes it doesn’t get picked up until we pull back into the garage. But my iPhone has three or four new photos of our adventures. Is it a better camera? No way, but an 8 mp camera with lots of creative apps that I can stick in my jeans pocket are tough is tough to pass up and is often my favorite camera.
My iPhone photos are easy to post to Instagram directly from whatever beautiful location we find ourselves. But sometimes I go back to these places and actually take my 20 lb bag of camera gear out of the car and sometimes even pull out my tripod. Sometimes that moment will be gone and I can’t return to it with my “big-girl camera” so the best camera is the one I have on me.

Can you tell which of these photos was taken with an iPhone and which was taken with a DSLR?
Mushrooms lying on leafy ground taken with iPhone

Mushrooms on a leafy ground taken with Canon 5D Mark III

Tolosa Vineyard in San Luis Obispo taken with Canon 5D Mark III

Tolosa Vineyard in San Luis Obispo taken with iPhone

Don’t Give Up Yet

Image

This is my lemon tree which I have had on my patio for a few years.  It produced the most delicious Meyer lemons I have ever tasted before.   It was a very healthy lemon tree, full of branches and leaves and it’s blossoms produced a fantastic fragrance!  

This past fall I noticed that there was a very tall branch that shot straight up far above the rest of the tree and it was full of dangerous looking thorns that often reminded me of Jesus’ crown of thorns.  Well, I realized that that lone branch was not producing anything but thorns with no signs of any potential of giving me some lemons so I chopped it off.  Within a couple of weeks the lemon tree was thriving like it never had before!  It was full of more leaves, more blossoms and more tiny little lemons.  I was really excited to say the least!  

Then Winter hit us hard on a few occasions in January and even though the planter was next to the house and we were covering the tree as best we could with sheets at night it soon began to shrivel and eventually lost everything and appeared completely dead.

The dead branches sat in the planter reminding me day after day of the loss of my precious lemon tree but I continued to hold on to hope that there was some life left in it.  We put our house on the market back in April and I decided that I would pull the dead branches so that potential buyers wouldn’t have to look at it.  One day while I was surveying my dead branches I noticed a tiny little cluster of leaves growing at the base of the tree!  It was STILL ALIVE!!!  It’s been growing pretty steadily since then and strangely enough I was taught a lesson.

Sometimes in life it appears that things are shriveling up and dying but sometimes it takes a little (or a lot) of patience to wait to see if there’s even a tiny glimmer of hope left.  

 

Prints in a Digital Age

In a world where digital photos are so readily available is there still a need for prints?  I would like to answer a hearty YES to that question.  I cannot deny that digital images have become a great tool for sharing our lives, our food, our friends without waiting for days or weeks for prints to arrive.

I recently saw the value in both print and digital images while visiting with older friends and relatives.   I was at a celebration of life for an 83 year old friend who was dying of leukemia.  Thankfully he was well enough to enjoy the celebration and be surrounded by his loving family and friends.  It was truly precious!  (He has since passed on to be with the Lord)  During the celebration his daughter presented a slideshow of wonderful family photos throughout the years.  I know it was a lot of work for his daughter to scan all the images to make them viewable on screen and for that reason I think digital images are a treasure!

On the other hand, we were recently visiting my in-laws and they needed to find their marriage certificate so we started looking through some old albums etc in the hopes of finding it.  There was a pile of five or six photo albums that I, my husband and his two sisters perused through for about an hour.  It was then that it occurred to me that prints have an incredible value.  If all of those photos had been squirreled away on a computer somewhere, in an un-recognizable folder we would not have had the joy of replaying some fun memories while looking through the old pics.  I was trying to picture the four of us huddled around my father-in-laws ancient computer trying to find the photo files and IF we found them it just wouldn’t be the same.  And what if they were all on a floppy-disc somewhere?  (I know, some readers have no idea what I’m referring to)

There’s something special about opening photo albums and sitting on a couch or at a table and looking through old photos with family and friends!

So to that I say….get those photos off your computer and to print!  If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for your family who will be able to spend time together looking through a treasure store of memories.

Old Photo Albums

Family Looking Through Photos

Finally….but wait!

My husband and I have lived in our current home on the Central Coast of California for nearly eleven years.  We turned what was basically a fixer-upper into a beautiful home that we love and is just perfect for us.  But we are ready for a change and would like a home with some different features than what we presently have–specifically, a flat driveway.

I have learned that there are a lot of advantages to having a steep driveway.  For one, most houses are perched on top of a hill to take advantage of the scenery and that is one thing that we’ve enjoyed immensely at our home.  Secondly, we were never concerned about someone wanting to make the trek up our driveway in order to burglarize our house.  Okay, I could only come up with two.

So, on that note, we have decided to put our house on the market…for the third time.  We’ve had a lot of Real Estate agents bring prospective buyers to see our house.  What kind of feedback do we consistently hear back from these agents you may wonder?  Well wonder no more…everyone loves the house but hates the driveway.

I planted this Wisteria plant about three years ago and I've enjoyed watching the snarling branches grow along the fence.  I planted it with the intention of providing shade on the patio on hot summer evenings.  This is the first time I've ever seen the gorgeous flowers bloom and enjoyed the subtle fragrance.  Hope the new owners enjoy it too!

I planted this Wisteria plant about three years ago and I’ve enjoyed watching the snarling branches grow along the fence. I planted it with the intention of providing shade on the patio on hot summer evenings. This is the first time I’ve ever seen the gorgeous flowers bloom and enjoyed the subtle fragrance. Hope the new owners enjoy it too!

 

We are hoping and praying that the right buyer comes along and will love living there as much as we have, someone who won’t be hindered by a quick jaunt up a steep driveway only to live in a haven that we’ve called home for over ten years.

I planted this vine about three years ago and knew it would be a while before I got any grapes.  It has been fun watching the vine grow right outside my kitchen window and this year the new owner will enjoy the fruit.

I planted this vine about three years ago and knew it would be a while before I got any grapes. It has been fun watching the vine grow right outside my kitchen window and this year the new owner will enjoy the fruit

And by the way, this is the year that everything decided to bloom.  I’ve been waiting for anywhere from three to five years for some plants to show me what they can do.  And wouldn’t you know it, it’s the same year that we put our house on the market, found a new house that we love and are currently in escrow!

I've had this waterlily plant in my pond for about five years.  Every year all I've ever seen are lily pads and even seen a few frogs enjoying them.  I've also been jealous of my neighbors waterlilies that bloom beautifully every year.  Well this year I didn't fertilize the plant, didn't feed my fish, moved the umbrella away from shading the pond and Voila! a gorgeous waterlily.   I've been out photographing this beauty every day!

I’ve had this waterlily plant in my pond for about five years. Every year all I’ve ever seen are lily pads and even seen a few frogs enjoying them. I’ve also been jealous of my neighbors waterlilies that bloom beautifully every year. Well this year I didn’t fertilize the plant, didn’t feed my fish, moved the umbrella away from shading the pond and Voila! a gorgeous waterlily. I’ve been out photographing this beauty every day!

 

An Hour of Change

Some scenes in life rarely see much change, but if you take a photo every hour and you view them consecutively at the end of 24 hours you will see a change.  Not so much with sunsets and sunrises especially during times of interesting cloud formations in the sky which act as an interesting backdrop.

Last night I drove out to Avila Beach with my dog and perched myself at the highest point where I could legally park and sat and watched.  The change that happened in that sunset last night was pretty dramatic!  See for yourself what can happen in one hour if you have the time to sit and watch.

Avila Beach looking towards Pismo Beach in San Luis Obispo CountySunset at Avila Beach, CA San Luis Obispo travelSunset with magnificent colors over Avila Beach, CA San Luis ObispoSunset with colorful clouds in Avila Beach, CASunset at Avila Beach, CA in San Luis Obispo.

Dream Senior Session

I can’t complain about a single photo session I’ve had with any of my clients. Each one has been a real joy, super fun and cooperative and makes me just love what I do. The only complaints I ever have are with stupid mistakes I’ve made with my camera or lighting etc.
I had a senior session last week that was a dream session. I’ve know this guy since he was only a few days old, he was the best dancer at our wedding 16 years ago and has turned into a real handsome gentleman.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from a senior guy getting his photo taken; most guys don’t appreciate being in front of a camera, especially a high school senior. Well he turned out to be a dream! Not only was he very good looking and didn’t have a single “bad side” he was super cooperative and seemed to be having a good time. (If he wasn’t having a good time he certainly didn’t let me know about it)
Oh yeah, and the location was a dream! The family lives on a gorgeous piece of property with lots of beautiful locations to choose from.
Here are a couple of my favorite shots.

Male senior photo

Male senior portrait

Male senior photo in sepia

Irony

When temperatures climb up into the 100’s inland I’m very thankful for that the coast is only a 30 minute drive away.  I’m also thankful that the drive to the coast is a pleasant experience in itself.  

I love taking my dog with me on my trips to the coast but I’m never sure if I will be able to take her on walks with me.  On one particularly hot day in Atascadero I loaded up my camera and my dog and headed towards San Luis Obispo where it’s usually 20-30 degrees cooler.  I spent some time sitting outside a coffee shop, stepped inside a cosmetics store and a craft shop.   I left my dog outside the cosmetics store and craft shop while I shopped and at both places an employee stepped up and told me I should bring my dog inside with me while I shop.  Since they insisted I obliged and walked around the stores with my well-behaved Border Collie.  I would have been fine leaving my dog outside while I shopped but since they insisted I brought her in.  

Here’s the irony…after shopping around downtown I decided to drive out to one of my favorite places on the Central Coast, Montana de Oro, hoping to take my dog for a walk along one of the beautiful trails.  Well, my dog wasn’t welcome at any of these outdoor trails and I was confronted with these signs everywhere I went.  Image

Thankfully, there is one location in Montana de Oro where dogs on leashes are welcome.  That place is Spooner’s Cove, a gorgeous beach with a beach consisting of little pebbles instead of normal beach sand.  Funny thing about the beach…they don’t have any dog-poop bags available.  Good thing I always bring a few with me wherever I go.

Image